Name: Joseph J. Costolnick III
Occupation: Executive director-Harbor House, Northwest Georgia Child Advocacy Center, Inc.
What does the clerk of court do and why are you a good fit?
The Clerk's Office is the central hub of the entire justice system within Floyd County, bringing together every part of it. The Clerk receives, stores, and secures all of Floyd County’s most important documents. The Clerk is also responsible for transmitting this information, accurately, to the different agencies that rely on it so that they can do their jobs effectively.
I respect the Floyd County justice system dearly, having spent my entire adult life working for it. I know exactly how crucial these documents are because I have not only created some of them, I have also relied on them as a police officer, and now as the executive director of our local child advocacy center. I have devoted my entire career to serving our community when it needed it the most, and the security and integrity of our county’s most important documents must be restored immediately, and always respected.
How will you change operations to adapt to the new COVID-19 reality?
This pandemic has exposed the need for much more convenient access to our Clerk’s Office. I intend to improve the digital services available, starting with the ability to e-file for both civil and criminal cases, which is extremely overdue. I will update the website so that the information contained on it will always be accurate, the services available will be well known to everyone, and the documents available for download are current, allowing those who need specific packets of information to be able to obtain them quickly and safely.
Providing our community with easily accessible yet secure opportunities to interact with our Clerk’s Office in a much more efficient manner will not only reduce the taxpayer burden that is currently associated with this office, but it will reduce wasteful spending amongst all of the working parts of our justice system that rely on it each and every day.
What is the biggest challenge on the horizon and how will you address it?
The Clerk’s Office is known throughout the state for having one of the highest employee turnover rates anywhere, costing our county hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars. Retaining our valued employees is the biggest challenge this office faces, one that requires a change in leadership. Employee turnover in public service is a leadership problem, it is not about pay.
I will bring a leadership style that focuses on our employees' needs, both personally and professionally. I will support our employees by working right beside them, every day, until the job is complete. I will listen to their input, and I will provide them with better training opportunities, so that they are always prepared to serve our community when called upon. I will work for our employees, as well as our community, so that we can build a Clerk’s Office that is once again leading the way, together.